Hi Fashionistas 🙂
How are you all? And how are you all feeling about the fact that August has already arrived? It’s pretty shocking if you think about it. One day is 1st of June and the next is already August; time flies!!
So how have your summer holidays been so far? Where have you been? Any nice places to suggest? I’ve been to Lebanon for the second time and this post is all about our trip there. I will say just one thing; if you haven’t been there yet, then you should !
For me, Lebanon is one of the most special places on earth; firstly because my fiance proposed to me there (shy face). However, it’s not just that; it’s the food, the culture, the way of life, the weather, the bars, it’s many things. One thing that you must have in mind; if you don’t do Beirut on foot, then you won’t realise its beauty.
We arrived in Beirut in the morning so we were lucky to have the whole day. We checked in at our hotel and here I want you to make a pause and check out Gefinor Rotana; we absolutely loved it! If you’re visiting Beirut then I totally recommend it and book the option Club Rotana; there are so many perks to it. Honestly, this hotel made out holidays even better!
Okay now back to our first day 🙂 after we checked in, we decided to walk around Hamra, visit their little local shops, bought some traditional Lebanese delicacies and headed back to the hotel to enjoy a mid-day swim at our hotels’ rooftop swimming pool with the spectacular view. We then got all dressed up and went out for an evening afternoon with aim to do the city centre on foot. We started from Zaitunay Bay; a place out of this world. From there we headed to Souks, where all the high end shops and cafes are located and then we moved towards Hamra again. Passing Hamra we headed towards the biggest mosque Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque.
From there we visited Le Gray Hotel; a new addition to Beirut for a quick relaxed cocktail at Cherry on the Roof. We then had to eat something as all day we were just eating traditional Lebanese sweets (quilty). That is when we decided to go to the Cheesecake Factory; we’ve also been there last year. Between us? The best food and of course the best cheesecakes ever!!!!! I had the Sheila’s salad with sauce from honey and peanut and I have to say it was the best salad i’ve ever eaten and i’ve eaten a lot! (I’m somehow a veg). However the others ordered burgers and they also looked really nice. Our cheesecake choices; Salted Caramel cheesecake, White chocolate and raspberries cheesecake, Mango Key Lime cheesecake and Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake cheesecake (yes guilty x2).
After all that food and all that walk, we were exhausted and since we had a long day ahead of us the next day, we decided to go back to our hotel and charge our batteries.Day #2
Our second day was going to be a very tiring but exciting day. We hired a private taxi, and the driver was excellent so if you ever need contact details let me know and i’ll fill you in. He’s the best!
Okay, so we started our day from Harissa- the Lady of Lebanon. We stopped at the telepheric station and reached the highest point with that. Last year we went by car so this was a different experience for us and especially for my Sofoklis who does not feel very familiar with heights. The view was once more spectacular (you’ll get that phrase from me in this post quite a lot; sorry!). We walked the stairs then and we finally reached our little special spot (the exact spot where my Sofoklis proposed last year) – so yes, we had an emotional moment there. Guys, if you’re ever in Lebanon make sure to visit Harissa, it’s a must.
After Harissa we popped back in our taxi and Ali (our driver) drove us to Byblos; probably the oldest city in the world. We had a tour with the car (we’ve been there last year too but it was the first time for our friends so we wanted them to see the whole city). We then stopped by the old castle and walked along the walls where a magical old city is located with little cute coffee shops, bars and shops. We wandered there for a while, we also bought some beautiful small handmade authentic souvenirs and then sat for a fresh lemonade to refresh ourselves.
We then got back in the car to drive on the mountains this time heading towards Afqa; a waterfall on the mountains, which I totally recommend for those being in Lebanon during Autumn, Winter or early Spring. Unfortunately, during Summer there isn’t any water and we found that out halfway to there so Ali had the idea to change route and go to Tannourine instead; a 250 m cave that splits into three parts. During other seasons there’s also a waterfall there running from 250 m high, which I guess it’s something extraordinary but even though we missed the waterfall the view and the whole experience was as beautiful.
So after all of these and since the time was already 5 p.m we decided to head back to Beirut on time to relax a bit by the pool before getting ready to go out for dinner and drinks. We were back by 6:30, went to the pool for an hour and then got ready and headed to Zaitunay Bay where we had a reservation for fish meze at Babel; one of their most known restaurants (it’s quite expensive I could say for what they provide but the service is excellent). After the meze we went to Four Seasons rooftop bar for drinks and we loved it; beautiful setting, great drinks and spectacular views. So that was it for our second day.Day #3
Our last day had sadly arrived…
We wanted to make the most of it without going too far away, as we had to be at the airport by 6 p.m. Gefinor Rotana also provided us with late checkout and made our life a lot easier :).
There was one place we heard so much about and it was right next to our hotel; Phoenicia Hotel. Honestly, whatever I say about Pheonicia won’t do it justice. We went for a swim and enjoyed a nice coffee and narghile of course. This hotel has now been included in my top list. We spent the whole morning there.
Pheonicia is next to Zaitunay Bay as well so a last walk there seemed ideal. From there we went back at our hotel, had a bath and change of clothes and went to Souks area to Em Sherif cafe for lunch. Okay guys, make another pause and note this place down in your must-go places in Beirut. However, it’s always full and when I say always I mean ALWAYS, so you have to book well in advance and that is for both the cafe and the restaurant. To be fair, there’s now question why this place is always full; it’s the best lebanese food we’ve ever eaten!
After Em Sherif it was time to go back to the hotel and checkout. Ali was waiting us there to take us to Raouche and from there to the airport (if anyone needs Ali’s contact details let me know). We made a quick stop at Raouche, which is another must see of Beirut, took some pictures and headed to the airport. If you have free time, there are cafes and restaurants at that area that you can sit and eat or have a coffee with a view so it’s quite nice.
The only thing I was sad about is the fact that we did not make a reservation to the Em Sherif restaurant from before and we did not manage to get a table. We’ve been there last year and it’s a MUST.
Have you ever been in Beirut? Which are your favourite places?
Peace & Love,